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Tigers top Golden Lions to advance to SWAC semis

Sports

GRAMBLING, La. | The Grambling State University men’s basketball team built a 12-point first-half lead and held on late down the stretch for a 59-52 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night in the 2019 Toyota Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Grambling State (17-15), the fourth seed, secured its first back-to-back winning season since 2004-2006. The Tigers advance to Friday’s semifinals and will meet top seed Prairie View A&M at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The semifinal game will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Panthers earned a spot in Friday’s semifinals with a 86-66 victory over Alcorn State on Tuesday. Arkansas-Pine Bluff closes out the season with a 13-19 record.

Devante Jackson came off the bench to pace Grambling State with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one block. Ivy Smith, Jr., who earned All-SWAC Second Team honors on Tuesday, registered 10 points, three assists, three boards and one steal.

Shaun Doss led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 11 points, seven boards, two steals and one block, while Martaveous McKnight added 11 points, five rebounds and one steal.

Turning Point

Arkansas-Pine Bluff led 11-10, with 12:03 remaining in the first half, after a bucket Martaveous McKnight, but Grambling State used a 14-3 run over the next six minutes and grabbed a 24-14 advantage after an Ivy Smith, Jr. 3-pointer with 6:35 left.

 The Tigers extended the margin to 31-19 after an Anthony Gaston 3-pointer with 4:11 left and GSU took a 36-25 advantage into the break.

 The Golden Lions kept the game close in the second half and cut the double-digit deficit to 45-41 after a Christian Robertson putback with 9:16 remaining, but the Tigers pushed the margin to 51-43 after a free-throw by Zavier Peart with 6:31 left.

 Arkansas-Pine Bluff refused to go away and trimmed the margin to 54-50 after a McKnight bucket with 2:32 left, but that would be as close as the Golden Lions would get.

 Grambling State sealed the game at the foul line with free throws by Devante Jackson and Dallas Polk-Hilliard.

Inside the Numbers 
> Grambling State shot 40.5 percent (15-of-37) from the floor and 71.4 percent (25-of-35) from the charity stripe
> Arkansas-Pine Bluff was 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the field and 11-of-20 (55.0 percent) from the foul line

> GSU registered 38 rebounds, including 34 on the defensive glass

> UAPB pulled down 29 rebounds, with 22 coming on the defensive end

> The Tigers finished with 22 bench points, 16 points in the paint, six points off 10 UAPB turnovers and six second-chance points

> The Golden Lions recorded 20 points in the paint, 14 bench points, nine second-chance points and six points off 13 GSU turnovers

News & Notes

> GSU was predicted to win the conference and are defending its regular season crown

> Grambling State leads the conference in nine different categories

> Dallas Polk-Hilliard paces the Tigers with seven double-doubles

> Ivy Smith, Jr. leads the conference in assists per game, free-throws made and total assists

> Ivy Smith, Jr. surpassed the 1,000-point plateau against Mississippi Valley State (3/4/19)

> Ivy Smith, Jr. was named to the All-SWAC Second Team on Tuesday

Up Next
Grambling State, the fourth seed, advanced to Friday’s semifinals and will meet top seed Prairie View A&M at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Follow Grambling State Athletics

For complete coverage of Grambling State athletics, please follow the Tigers on social media at @GSU_Tigers (Twitter), /gramblingstateathletics (Facebook), @gramblingathletics01 (Instagram) or visit the official home of Grambling State Athletics at gsutigers.com.

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